Monday, May 30, 2011

Message before Gawai -Two things I Hate! (Who care?)

Tourism Malaysia website introduce Malaysia as,
“... A bubbling, bustling melting pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony.”
(http://www.tourism.gov.my/about_malaysia/)

In this ‘many other ethnic groups’ statement, one of it is the Ibans. The Ibans were the original inhabitants of Borneo Island. Wikipedia reported that there are more than 600,000 Ibans in Sarawak alone. One of the main festivals for the Ibans is the rice harvesting festival Gawai Dayak. (Besides the bird festival Gawai Burong and the spirit festival Gawai Antu) The Gawai Dayak is celebrated every year on the 1st of June, at the end of the harvest season, to worship the Lord Sempulang Gana. (To know more, please Google)

The Ibans were traditionally animist, but today majority are now Christian and some are Muslim. For your information, I’m an Iban and I’m a Christian. There are 2 things that I’m against that I need to share with my readers who celebrate this wonderful and joyful celebration that are contradict to our Christian Living.
Please evaluate and examine my thesis before you accept or reject it:
[Bare in mind that I'm writing this in a Malaysia context (urban-modern readers), which 'tuak' and smoking are not necessary helpful; for heating etc. in our climate: warm and humid)

#1:Tuak

Myth: You are not a real man if you don’t drink tuak or langkau!
Tuak is a type of wine; it is originally made of rice. Meanwhile langkau is a type of alcohol drink. (Some define it as similar term) Nowadays, both beverages are served for guests. Both if consume excessively will cause drunkenness. There is nothing wrong with drinking tuak or langkau, but it must be under control. I love what Goh Keat Peng said when he advised his young listeners in one lecture, “Ask yourself this question before you do something ‘Am I able to control it?’” If you can, go ahead. But I’m sure base on my own experiences, it is much better not to consume it at all.

Habit when it fully developed becomes addiction. And addiction to alcohol is not cool at all. I’d been there before, my bloodline prove it so. At first you feel confident, strong and macho. No one denies that they can be helpful for a while, but over the long haul – it left you immature, insecure, and afflicted by guilt and depression. Now tell me, what is real man about if he feels insecure, guilt, failure, stress and immature behavior?
Billy Graham writes, “Why does the Bible so clearly denounce drunkenness? Because it is an enemy of human life. Anything that is against a person’s welfare, God is against.”
Truth: You are a real man if you know how to say ‘no’ to drunkenness!

#2:Smoking

Myth: Grown up smoke!
Human beings are creatures of habit. Many of our practices become automatic; we are sometime unaware that we have attain the habit of smoking especially from what we model from our family members really affected us a lot. Living in an Iban culture, I was exposed to smoking since I was a kid. Our mind linked smoking with adulthood. Smoking claims to release tension, a symbol of maturity, independent and cool.

But is it true? How about the fact that in a long term smoking kills you and others? Maybe I shouldn’t waste my time to outlines the effects of smoking; both you and I know that smoking is a bad habit. Both of us know that they displease God. Both of us know that smoking doesn’t define your maturity. Grown up… real grown up, Christian kind of grown up doesn't do things that displease God.
Truth: Real grown up understand that smoking [In my judgment, based on our context] is not pleasing to God!

As Gawai is approaching, I want you to consider these 2 myths and 2 truths. If you think that Gawai or any other celebrations is not fun without alcohol drinks and cloud of smokes in your lung, I want you to remember that there won’t be any celebrations to come if you destroy your body with those toxics. If you think that Gawai is not Gawai if you don’t do it, I want you to remember that Gawai is not Gawai if your family mourning over your dead body. If you think that my advice is not practical and out-dated, I want you to remember that I had warned you about it.

Being a Christian mean you make the choice to be difference. Being a Christian mean you obey God’s Word above cultural traditions. Being a Christian mean you glorified God even with your body. Alcohol and smoke destroy your God-given body. Don’t you know that the moment you received Christ into your life, you’re a new creature in Christ through whom all things were made and in whom all things are restored or created anew?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come
!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
Anyway, it's your life... You make the choice... just don't waste it.
Happy Celebrating Gawai Dayak!
Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Week 46: Family and Relationship, What is the most important thing in your life?

Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” (Anthony Brandt)
Our mouth says our family and relationship are the most important. But occasionally our hands and feet demonstrated different value.” (Richard Angelus)

During my early years someone asked me a question, what is the most important thing in your life? I would reply ‘Jesus’, but some other time I would say, ‘my family’ or ‘my friends’. To be honest, my inner being would sometime jump up to say ‘myself’. If you’re facing the same question (I bet you had) what probably is your answer? Top of the lists would be ‘my family’, ‘my spouse’, ‘my children’ or ‘my friends’. We put it on paper. We memories it’s sequences. We even boast about it. But actually, in reality, are we really living that way?


Our mouth says our family and relationship are the most important. But occasionally our hands and feet demonstrated different value. One day in Mid-Valley megamall, a not so slim promoter come and approached me. She promotes a slimming product! Now base on your present judgment and common sense, do you think I would buy the product? Of course not! In the same way, our value are not demonstrated by our words, though it’s a good start, but by our deeds and end results. Darren Hardy writes “How a person spends their time and money reveals what they really value most. Well, no more lips service. It’s time to make the main thing in your life actually the main thing.”


Family and relationship with others are important in our life. Successful without family to enjoy is useless. Big party without friends is not a party at all. Marriage without spouse and children while them still alive is meaningless. Look at your calendar, planner and checkbook; is there any holiday or outing with family and friends? Does your work occupied most of your time? Try this, how about your ‘Dialed Calls’ on your phone call log or sms in your inbox; when is the last time you make contact with them?


I was surprise when my brother sends a text message to me one morning. Since we were kids, we not really ‘care’ for each other. We did play football and play wrestling together but I never received anything as significant as this text message. He sms’ed, “I love you, brother.” At first I want to throw up. (Girls, try to understand, normally flesh and blood brothers don’t say that to one another… at least in my culture.) What got into him? Possessed by demon or overflowed with the Spirit of God? I’m confused. But since I believe that God can do anything, I trust that He had touched him somehow. After many years we played ‘brother’, this time is for real! Really, family is important!


It doesn’t take too much effort and hard work to shows that we value our family and relationship above everything else. How about a call or a text messages now? How about watching movie or play together this week? How about having a family dinner party or holiday together this year? Success in life has everything to do with our relationship at home.


When we thought that the greatest treat we face today is a terrorist attack by Osama Bin laden’s remaining followers or by global warming and natural disasters, little we realize that the Devil already planned his treat to attack our very own family. The enemy loves nothing more than to ruin, to stir up, to inflict your relationship with your family, friends and others. Therefore, we must fight for it! Fight like Nehemiah when enemies tried to ruin their plan to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He said to everyone, “Don’t be afraid of them. Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome, and then fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14 The Message)

If you say that family is important to you, fight for them! If you say that your children mean the whole world for you, fight for them! If you say ‘I do!’ to your spouse and ‘Nothing can set us apart’, fight for it! Nehemiah advised (lead by the Spirit of God) to “put your minds on the Master, great and awesome.” He is the God of Relationship, not some Deity that is somewhere up there but He is near to us.
Any relationship will not be complete unless we have relationship with God. But how can we? We cannot go to Heaven and say ‘Hi God, I want to be your friend.’ We cannot go ‘up’ to Him but He can come ‘down’ to us. And that is exactly what Jesus did. His life, the cross and the resurrection, Roman 5:11 declares, “Now we can rejoice in out wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”


THINK BIG Family and relationship is important.
START SMALL Fight for them!
GO DEEP If God value relationship more than everything else, who gave His One and only Son to settled the relationship between us and Him, how much more are we to settle our relationship with each other?
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Sweetest Victory is the One that's most Difficult

Thomas Edison is one of the most famous inventors in the human history. His memorable invention was the light bulb. It took him about 1,000 tries before he developed a successful prototype.

How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” a reporter asked.
I didn’t fail 1,000 times,” Edison responded. “The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Richard Branson
Some resource writes that he responded, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times, I just found out 1,000 times not to do it.” Whatever his responded was, one thing for sure is that he successfully invented the first electric light bulb. What if Thomas Edison had given up after his first attempt to make the electric light bulb? Okay, how about after hundredth attempt? Not for Edison, he chose to use each failure as his reason to think that he was getting closer to the solution.

I have to admit that I’m easily discouraged after facing few failures in my attempt. If not because of those closers to me, I won’t be where I am today. If not because God never give up on me, I’m sure that I will end up in prison or boy’s home eventually (or both). I read one great piece of advice that says: To achieve the greatest success, you have to embrace the prospect of failure.

Here are 6 Famous Failures that drive through the bumpy road to success:
(Source: by Pauline Estrem from SUCCESS Magazine October 2010)

Michael Jordan was once cut from his high school basketball team. In his words, “I’ve failed over and over again in life. That is why I succeed.


Donald Trump was $1 Billion in debt at one point in the 1990s. In his words, “I refused to give up. Defeat is not in my vocabulary.”


Babe Ruth, in his pursuit of the home run record, also landed the most strikeouts, totaling 1,330. In his words, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

Winston Churchill lost every election for public office until he became prime minister. In his words, “Never give in; never give in, never, never, never, never – in anything, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”


Vince Lombardi was once slammed by a critic who said that “he possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” In his words, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.

Richard Branson (He has a great name!) has lost millions of dollars in various ventures. In his words, “You fail if you don’t try. If you try and you fail, yes, you’ll have a few articles saying that you’ve failed at something. But if you look at the history of American entrepreneurs, one thing I do know about them: An awful lot of them have tried and failed in the past and gone on to great things.


Tell me, how to you see your failures now?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

John Wesley’s Investment Formula

Money is like a muck, no good except it be spread.” (Francis Bacon)
John Wesley by George Romney, 1789
 I always confuse between Charles Wesley and John Wesley, only later that I knew that these two giants in Christian’s History are brothers’ flesh and blood. (The same confusion I had when I read about Williams’ sisters – Serena Williams and Venus Williams, the two world-class tennis players, pardon me) John Wesley (1703 - 1791) was an Anglican priest (until 1728), evangelist and founder of Methodism. After he became influenced by Moravian teaching, he experienced a conversion and devoted the rest of his life to preaching.

In his sermon, John Wesley often dealt with the topic about money and materialism. He sites that Christian’s materialism is a major cause of the ‘inefficacy of Christianity. He always ask, ‘Why has Christianity done so little good?’ and knowing the cause, he was so vocal about the matter of materialism. One of the most well-known sermons by John Wesley on money was his ‘trilateral sermon’, titled ‘The Use of Money’. (Based on Luke 16:9) He set out three points about money:

1)    Gain All you Can

Keith Drury writes, ‘We ought to make money. It was an argument for industriousness, hard work, cleverness. Wesley thought Christians should work hard and long and the result would be gaining all the money they could. To him there was nothing wrong with making money. Indeed, he argued that Christians had a ‘bounden duty’ to gain all they could.’

Had you heard someone said something that contradict with their action? All talk and no walk? I’m sure you had. (And that’s what I’m scare the most) But Wesley, he followed his own advice. Keith explained that Wesley was one of the highest earning preachers of all times. In today’s dollars he earned the equivalent of 1.4 million in his best year. That mean he earned approximately RM4.2 Million per year! Mind you, there was no a cassette or videos or websites during that time okay! He wanted Christian to ‘gain all you can’. (Along with this, he cited five wrong ways of gaining money, click reference website below for more info.)

2)    Save All you Can

What he meant by ‘Save all you can’ was to be carefully how you spent it. It doesn’t mean that we should bank-in as much as possible into our savings accounts. He warned about extravagant spending on taste a.k.a. food, appealing and other showy thing which appeal to the sense of sight. Thus, Wesley called us for simplicity and plainness. But come on, so why need to ‘gain all you can’ and ‘save all you can’ but didn’t use it for the luxury of life? ‘Why should Christians be so thrifty?’ writes Keith. It is so we can give.

3)    Give All you Can

If John Wesley were to write an article about the topic of money in Motivate for Life, he would conclude his article by writing his utmost motivation of his entire view on money as ‘Give all you can’. We are to gain and save in order to give. Keith writes, ‘To Wesley money was for giving. You made it; you saved, so you could give it.’ Give to whom? Wesley outlines a list:
  • First, give to yourself all you need for the basics. 
  • Second, give to your family and employees their fair share or you are worse than an infidel 
  • Third, give to the ‘household of faith’ – other Christians, which we assume includes the organized work of the Lord in churches. 
  • Finally, we are to give to all men in need, which includes the poor, the needy, even if they are not believers.
 In summary, his trilateral are ‘Gain All you Can’, ‘Save All you Can’ and it base ‘Give All you Can’. And you know what; Wesley lived it and did it himself. What today RM4.2 Million per year income, his biographer said that he lived on only 2% of his income and gave 98% of it away. Keith Drury revealed that “In fact, during Wesley’s lifetime he earned the equivalent of $30 Million. When he died, he left behind only a few miscellaneous coins and a couple of silver spoons… He practiced what he preached.”

Jesus never said that we should give 98% of our income away. He is not even using the word ‘should’ but ‘if’. He never forces us to give, but He reminded us that we should give. I can recite dozens if not hundreds of His eternal Word about Giving, but this article could not contain it.  After all, isn’t all that we have is His’? Think about it.

THINK BIG. START SMALL.GO DEEP.


 Reference:http://www.drurywriting.com/keith/wesley.htm



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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Is God Finished with You Yet?

Finish what you started in me, God. Your Love is eternal – don’t quit on me now.” (Psalm 138:8 by King David, The Message)


"Even now God is still continually perfecting,
fine-tuning, and touch up each one of us."
Is God finished with you yet? If you’re still breathing, the answer is no. If you’re still blinking, the answer is no. If you say yes, the answer is – you’re death. 100 meter run will end after 100 meter run. Night end when the sun rises. And my full cup of coffee will finish eventually, but God – He is not finished with you yet. The King James Version translate Psalm 138:8 like this, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” Even now God is still continually perfecting, fine-tuning, and touch up each one of us.


I remember one encouraging story that I kept in my notebook:


One night the great violinist Paganini stood before a huge audience playing a difficult piece of music. A full orchestra surrounded him. Suddenly one of the strings on his violin broke and hung down from his instrument. Beads of perspiration formed on his brow, but he continued to play, improvising as he went.
To everybody’s surprise a second string broke. Then the third. Now there were three limp strings dangling from his violin as the master-performer completed the composition on the one remaining string. When he was through, the audience jumped to its feet and filled the hall with thunderous applause. When the clapping and shouting ceased, Paganini asked the audience to sit down.
Holding the violin high for everyone to see, he nodded to the conductor to begin the encore. Then turning back toward the crowd, with a twinkle in his eyes he smiled and shouted, “Paganini… and one string!”... then he played the final piece while the audience and the conductor shook their heads in amazement.


Hi there friend, when you thought that nothing good can come out from you and you lost your hope in Him, I urging you to heed His calling, “Come and See” (John 1:39) Yes, come and see what He have offers you. If you're confuse, talk to Him. If you're in challenging moments, talk to Him. If you’re afraid, talk to Him. What so great about Jesus is that He will always continue to fulfill all His promises and purposes in your live!


But one of my ‘strings’ is broken? Can He still use me?’ you ask. Yes! Even if every ‘strings’ in your ‘violin’ is broken, He still wants to use it in order to fulfill His plan for your life. He can do it, but until you surrender your life and future to Him, He won’t. Yes, there will gonna be trails and obstacles along the way. Pain and failure may chips in, but if you endure it with Him, you faith will increase. When faith is stretched, it grows.


Like Paganini with his one string violin, he still continued playing his masterpiece until the music is finished. If that is the determination of mere human being in completing his work at hand, what more can God of Heaven who create you from the beginning will complete His plan in you? Have you surrender your life and future in His hand? I hope you did, because you know what… He won’t quit on you and He is not finished with you yet!

THINK BIG, God is the one who initiates the salvation in you. START SMALL, Surrender and trust Him. GO DEEP, He will continue it and will one day bring it to completion. (You'll shake your head in amazement.)

“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6NIV)

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Thing

There is this one thing I want to tell you, in my business, I experienced “greatship” instead of hardship along my journey. I worked hard and worldly smart. From sunrise to ‘moonrise’, I was still in the market, totally depended on my own strength, ways and thinking which I thought were very perfect in my own eyes. I earned big bucks but at the same time, I earned less and less in prayers. Reading my bible? Faded. Was it cool? Not at all. 

There is another one thing. At one point, I encountered, which I called, ‘financial earthquake’. I was depressed and I lost my focus towards everything around me. I felt like I was drowning in the sea of liquor, stinky and suffocated. The Bible is true, there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Yes! Spiritual death which I had that time. 

Then, there is another one thing. There is a time for everything, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak. God is always great. He redeemed me. I started becoming closer with Him. And, it is growing. From what I have learned and gone through, to experience multiplication and promotion in everything you do (business, workplace, or.....), the key is Obeying God (Deuteronomy 28 verse 1-2). The blessings will come upon you and accompany you. The blessings will come unexpectedly. It’s not I don’t work hard now BUT I choose to rely on Him. I choose to trust Him. I choose to spend more time with Him now. Friends, He works amazingly in my business and even in my relationship. 

And one FINAL thing. Things happened for reasons. But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who strengthens and helps you. He gives you the ability to produce wealth. He is the one behind your success. Fear Him. Acknowledge Him and above all else, love Him. 

God Bless! 

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About the writer:
Albert R. Macewell work as a Senior Property Executive at Borneo Real Estate in Kuching, Malaysia. Graduate with Degree in Marketing. He is not an expert (yet), but his insight is valuable. His motto: "I DO BELIEVE THAT,EVERYONE CAN SUCCEED.IF ONLY HE/SHE HAVE DECIDED TO COMMIT."


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Monday, May 23, 2011

A Dream of a Child

HIV Children
I received a letter from Hans Olsen, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia this month. The letter introduces a dream of a young girl name Puteri about her hope and dream. When Puteri was still very young, both her parents died of AIDS-related illnesses. Sadly for Puteri, an innocence child, was born with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – severe viral infection that progressively destroys the immune system.

Puteri have a dream. She holds on to her hope, but she need help… our help. Hans writes, “Do you remember your hopes and dreams as a child? Perhaps you dream of traveling the world or driving a fast car. Perhaps you hoped you would become a musician, a doctor or a sports superstar.
This is the dream of Peteri, a 12 year old living with HIV in Malaysia:
I dream of getting cured,” she says.

There are more children like Puteri. Officially there are 1,000 children in Malaysia are living with HIV. Unofficially, Hans Olsen writes, the number is much larger. 

Here are some facts about children around the world that I want to share with you in hoping that we all will be aware of what happening to our poor little ones who urgently need our attentions and helps.
·        Every hour, 42 children below 15 years get infected with HIV
·        It is estimated that 2 million children under 15 are living with HIV
·        In Malaysia, 40% of HIV cases were amongst ages 13-29
·        Around 25,000 children die each and every day from preventable causes; 1 in 3 before they are even a month old.
·        More than 90 million primary school aged children around the world are out of school
·        In Malaysia, some 115,000 school children have not mastered writing, reading and counting skills
·        In 2009, numbers of hungry people in the world climbed to record highs exceeding one billion
·        Many people were unable to feed themselves in 2009 not because they could not find food, but rather because they could no longer afford it.
·        In 2009, 101.8 million hungry people in 75 country. 84.1 million is women and children
·        Some 3.5 million children under five die every year, largely as a result of under-nutrient.

I have no back-up data to support my claim but I’m convince that one of the top causes of death in Malaysia is not so obvious like car crashes, drug overdoses, alcoholism or any natural disaster accidents. I think it is this - FOOD.  We are literally eating our way out into the grave. Obesity caused by bad diet! While during our fore-fathers battled disease, hunger and other deprivations, we are killing ourselves – with excess food; rice, curry, fried chicken etc.

Come let us remember those who didn’t have the opportunity to eat 3 times per day. Let’s remember children who hunger for food and care from us. Remember their cry for a ‘left over’ from our plates each time we ignore them and eating excessively. I want to echo Hans Olsen’s calling for people to support and donate some of your income for those who needed the most – especially, our children.

“I know you want to help make a future of hope possible for children. Because having hopes, dreams and a bright future is the very essence of what it means to be a child. As we remember our own pat childhood hopes and dreams, let’s ensure our children are not deprived of theirs.”

If you cannot support financially, it’s okay. Perhaps you want to do it next time. But please remember them in your prayer. Tell our children that we care. That God is real. That He cares for them as we shine His light to the world through our concern for one another.

God bless you. 
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week 45: Generosity - A sure way to be Blessed

Generosity always wins favor, particularly when accompanied by modesty. (Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe)
If we only realize that all we have is a gift from a generous God, we have no problem to share our material and earthly possession more freely. (Richard Angelus)
Have you suffered from the cold indifference of others? Nobody help you went you need some financial support. Nobody really care either you eat once per day during your college’ or university’ time. Nobody wants to share with you their ideas or advices about the subject that you really have difficulties with. The problem here is not that they lack of resources, the problem here is that they have abundance yet they don’t care about you. Have you been in these kinds of situation before? I hope you had. And if you do, you know that the value of generosity is important in our relationship with one another as a human being.

Another question, have you met anyone that are so kind and generous to you that you will never forget about what they did to you for the rest of your life? I bet you had. They make a difference in your life. They make you believe that not everyone is stingy and greedy after all. They somehow proof that their faith in God is real to you. Don’t you want to be someone like that? I hope you do. I pray you will to. I believe you want to be that person. 

Here are my 7 points that can help you to cultivate this noble value of generous toward others:

1.     Generosity reveals the heart of the giver.
Where your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:21NLT) It’s not about how much money you have or the abundance of your possessions that’s matter; it’s about what you do with what you have. It’s about how generous you are with it. If all this while you spent 4/5 of your leisure time with comics or Korean movies, and only less than 1/5 spending time for reading and meditating on the Word of God – I know exactly where your heart is. So it is with our money, wherever your money goes reveals what you believe is most important.

2.     Generosity is both Spiritual Gift and Spiritual Discipline.
What I mean is that for some people, being generous come easily. Whenever they see needs, they just simply give. That is what I mean by Spiritual gift. But as for some people, (including me) they do not consciously give or share things with others. Therefore, they have to work hard to discipline themselves to do it. For both cases, if you not sure either you have it or not, one fact is remain true – No excuse baby!

3.     It is more blessed to be Generous.
In the Book of Acts (20:25KJV), Paul recalled what Jesus said to him, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Proverbs 22:9 (NIV) also writes, “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Notice the key words here: Generous. Be Blessed. Share.

4.     Be Generous is a Decision.
It doesn’t come automatically. It is prompted by the Holy Spirit, not forced. I love the Scripture, the Word makes this choice very clear for us, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (1 Corinthians 9:7NIV) Make a decision to be generous today.

5.     Generosity is Character trait to God.
Ronald A. Beers and Amy E. Mason summaries this point very well, “Generosity is an important character trait to God because it is the opposite of selfishness, which along with pride, are two of the most destructive sins. Selfishness promotes greed, stinginess, envy, and hard-hardheartedness – traits that destroy relationships. Generosity promotes giving, trust, mercy, and putting others’ needs above your own – traits that build relationships.”

6.     All you have is a gift from a Generous God
If we can only realize that all we have is a gift from a generous God, we have no problem to share our material and earthly possession more freely. When we share His blessings, we please Him. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16NIV)

7.     Understand the Generosity Equation
This equation is not from Albert Einstein or from my old mathematical engineering equations note book. This is what I understand from reading the Bible. (If you find out that my doctrine is wrong, please write to my e-mail, ya.) The equation is, whoever, [sows generously = reap generously]. Proverbs 11:25(NIV) confirm this universal equation, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” 

Here is my conclusion: Christians can only be saved by grace through faith alone. Good work like being generous to others doesn’t contribute to our Salvation. But faith without work is dead. If you’re truly being saved, your faith will produce good works. And that include being generous to one another. Be generous with your money, time, talents, ideas, giving advice, food etc.

Don’t ever forget that there are so many needs and so many ways in which you can make a difference in someone’s life. Be generous. THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Free Books for Graduate!

Dear Graduates,

This is your precious moment in life where you have to leaving the world of formal education for the workplace. This transaction to the world of employment are sharp and the workplace environment can be a challenging one for some graduates. (Are you?)

In education, as a student we have been supported with a range of reasonable adjustments... but the workplace, huh, this new environment is often very different, being fast-paced, less mercy (or forgiving), with short timescales and tight deadlines. If you want to survive out there, you got to have some skills that you have to mastered. The quicker the better! (Did i just stress you guys?)

Reading good books is one of the key discipline that you need to cultivate. Books by brilliant authors can enhance your knowledge and broaden your perspective. I wish someone had encourage me to do the same before I went to marketplace in the past. I cannot go back to the past but I can be the one who will encourage you to do so. Dear precious graduates, you can make a different! I would like to offer you John C. Maxwell's book, Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow Success to you who was graduated or is graduating this year. Prepare now!

The book contents:
  1. Today Often Falls to Pieces - What is the Missing Piece?
  2. Today Can become a Masterpiece
  3. Today's ATTITUDE Gives Me Possibilities
  4. Today's PRIORITIES Give Me Focus
  5. Today's HEALTH Gives Me Strength
  6. Today's FAMILY Gives Me Stability
  7. Today's THINKING Give Me and Advantage
  8. Today's COMMITMENT Gives Me Tenacity
  9. Today's FINANCES Give Me Options
  10. Today's FAITH Give Me Peace
  11. Today's RELATIONSHIP Give Me Fulfillment
  12.  Today's GENEROSITY Gives Me Significance
  13. Today 's VALUES Give Me Direction
  14. Today's GROWTH Gives Me Potential
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

We can't please People

What can be worst than to live a life entirely to please people and trying to win the approval of others. When we were kid, its okay to gain approval from our parents ‘Look dad what I can do!’, ‘Here mom, this is my exam results. Aren’t you proud of me?’, ‘hey, see… I’ve done what you want me to do.’  But what happen when we grow up? It’s not enough. It’s not alright. It’s average. People changed, and so does their expectations.

A friend e-mailed me and said, “I’m tired of pleasing others. They demand a lot from me. I’m busy all the time until I have no time for God. What should I do?”
2 days later I replied her, “Stop pleasing people.” That’s all I can think of.

If you think that the answer is too simple, I request that you would give me a chance to outline these 4 simple points:

1)      You can’t please people
Yes I know you tried before and it doesn’t work. Well, maybe trying is not enough. How about if you replace ‘try’ to simply ‘stop’. In a short-term perspective pleasing people may bring some temporary satisfaction or sensation breeze of approval but in the long-term it can lead to disappointment, frustration, and emptiness. My friend once gave me an important advice, “Richard, don’t tired yourself pleasing others.”

2)      Please people rob you of your peace.
Trying to please people will rob you of your peace. There is no time for ourselves and we always concentrate on gaining approval from others. Fear surrounds us. “Is it enough?”, “Is it okay?”, “Is this is what you expect?” are the questions that keep playing in our mind. Thus, it can harm our mental, emotional, and physical health.

3)      Get your approval only from God
His approval is never based on performance. God of the Bible doesn’t require our sacrifices or hard work to impress Him. It is the unconditional love that He offers. He loves you and approves of you because you are His, no matter what you think about Him or what other think about you.

4)      Don’t be people-pleaser, be God-pleaser.
St. Paul writes in his letter to Galatians, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (1:10 ESV) Which one are you? The one who is trying to please man or Christ? Pleasing God and seeking for His approval will bring peace, contentment, and fulfillment in a long run. By choosing to please God, we can serve people voluntarily instead of forcing ourselves to do so. We can do our best without fear of others approval. 

Choose today whom you will obey. Let me remind us: if you want to please people, go ahead but remember this – pleasing people will disappointed you down the road. THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP. 

The Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.”(Romans 14:17-18)
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Work is Worship (another reason to Smile)

Today I was encouraged by the scenes that I saw in the middle of the city. Yes, literally, in the middle of the city – KL Central. I saw a young cleaner leaning on the wall with her head rested on that cold red glorious ceramic. Mop was on her hand but there was not much movement because she managed to find her ‘sweet spot’ to close her eyes for a minutes or two. Standing she does, static she rest and savor the moment she wish. But as I entered my way to male toilet, she struck her pose and smile. Oh my, she really not that beautiful. Her look is not so attractive but what I saw that time was not her mere physical appearances. It was a genuine smile that ‘glows in the dark’. It’s not fake, vague or made up. It was a sincere smile. What a pretty smile.
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Work? What is the first thing comes to your mind when you heard the word ‘work’? How about if I add the word ‘Monday’ on it, what do you feel? For some ‘I hate my work!’, but some ‘Just let me survive these 5 days’ and some pray, ‘God, make Monday to Friday faster but prolong Saturday and Sunday please. Amen.’ There is no joy in work. Many people consider their job to be chores, something to be endured in order to pay the bills.

But have you ever thought that work is part of God’s plan for your life? Work is not a result of sin. Work is not a curse, rather it was blessing. Work was one of the first assignments for Adam. It was part of the creation that God said is ‘very good’. In Genesis 2:15 reads, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Work was part of God’s original creation. It was designed to be a fulfilling aspect of life.

Paul puts work into perspective when he writes, “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Ephesians 6:7)  When you have the perspective that you are actually working for the Lord, you can focus less on the task itself and more on your inner motives which is to glorify God. ‘Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.’ (Colossians 3:23) The key words are:

Work with enthusiasm…
Work willingly at whatever you do…
…as though you are working for the Lord.

I don’t know why you work where you work right now. But I know this; God had placed you in your position for a reason, do your work well until He opens a door of opportunity for you to move on. Let Stephen Hawking keeps his own theory of randomness in the Universe for himself, but you, my dear friends who believe that God of the Universe is worthy of our praise – remember this: work is worship.
………….

Let’s come back to KL Central again. I’m not sure either she believe that her work is worship or not, it’s not the point I’m bringing up her story in this article as my introduction. I just want to invite you to think about these questions seriously; 

We who have the opportunity to study in the university and for some maybe you have parent or family members to support, with all this advantages, why we don’t cherish our work very much?

Have you thought about those who struggle to get a job? Migrants who cross the sea, working under the sun, leaving their families behind, become a ‘slave’ to others – ought we not to be rejoice and give thanks to God for giving us work to earn our living?

And if you do, does it add another reason for you to smile on your way to work today (or tomorrow)?

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

‘It is sublime mystery that Christ should begin to work before He began to teach; a humble workman before being the teacher of all nations.’ (Pope Pius XII) 


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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 18: Prayer in Harmony with the Destiny of Man

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26 NIV)

What does it mean for human beings are made in God’s Image? It means we are creatures of God, we belong to Him. It means God distinguishes humans from all other creatures; it is what makes us human. J.I. Packer writes, ‘This is what the Bible means when it tells us that God made man in his own image – namely, that God made man a free spiritual being, a responsible moral agent with powers of choice and action, able to commune with him and respond to him, and by nature good, truthful, holy, upright: in a word, godly.’

[Since I want to talk about what does the image of God related or effect to our prayer, I might as well just focus on this subject.]

Made by His Image enable us ‘to commune with him and respond to him’ This mean that in the beginning man can talks, converse or communicate freely with God face-to-face without boundaries. ‘And let them rule’ places us as His agent, God’s representative to rules over the rest of His creations. But as you know in Genesis 3 by the fall of man, sin had entered the scene and thus had hindered us from having this special communion with Him. The image of God has not been lost as a result of sin, but sin had distorted us from seeing God’s purpose for our life that is to pray, worship and serve our Creator effectively.

But you know God in the Bible, with all due respect, doesn’t sit down drink coffee and let His masterpiece ‘lost contact’ with Him. No! He redeemed man through his son, Jesus, who is the complete revelation of what the image of God is. He is the full image of God, and he is the one person whose humanity was never spoiled by sinning. In Christ, man regains his original position, and the church, abiding in Christ, inherits the promise: ‘Ask what ye will and it will be done unto you.’ 

What sin is destroyed, Grace has restored,
What the first Adam lost, the second has won back,
What we couldn’t do by ourselves, God had done it for us!

Andrew Murray in his classic book, With Christ in the School of Prayer (which is my reference for this series) writes, “It is God’s purpose that the fulfillment of His eternal purpose and the coming of His Kingdom should depend on His people… as God’s image bearer and representative on earth, redeemed man has the power to determine the history of this earth through his prayers.”

By restoring His image on those who believe in the saving power of God through His one and only Son, Jesus Christ on the cross, our weakness and sinfully tainted nature of prayer is justified by Him. Jesus had shows us that to be created in the image of God is to be created to pray.
 Come, Christians, you who are redeemed – pray, for this is your destiny, to serve for God’s Kingdom, to have rule over the nations, and to make the Name of God glorious on the earth. This is the power of Prayer. We are belonging to God and prayed to God is what we were created for.


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WELCOME TO THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER (Click to read previous posts)

References:
1.     Introducing Christian Doctrine 2nd Edition by Millard J. Erickson (Baker Book House, 1992, 2001)
2.     Knowing God by J.I. Packer (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, 1975)
3.     Prayer and the Knowledge of God by Graeme Goldworthy.
4.     Zondervan NIV Study Bible.


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